Beavertail Lighthouse NRHP

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Beavertail State Park

Beavertail Lighthouse is in Beavertail State Park. The state park encompasses 153 acres at the southern end of Conanicut Island in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. From the air, the island resembles a beaver’s tail, hence the name. The state created the park in 1980 from federal surplus land.

At this park, you can visit a historic lighthouse, see the remnants of an old fort, explore tide pools and walk along coastal trails. Many people we saw were simply relaxing in the ocean breeze with the sound of waves crashing against the rocks.

Beavertail Lighthouse

The granite Beavertail Lighthouse sits at the tip of the park. It replaced an earlier lighthouse from 1749. The British burned the old light down and stole the optics when they withdrew from Newport in 1779.

The new 3rd order Fresnel lens lit up the entrance to Narragansett Bay once again in 1856. It is still an active navigational aid.

The stone foundation of the original structure sits 100 feet from the current lighthouse. A decorative concrete cap has been added along with a sign admonishing visitors to keep off the ‘Valuable Historical Artifact that has been here since 1749.’ Apparently, some people can’t read.

In 1898, the assistant keeper’s quarters went up next to the keeper’s house This building now houses the museum. The assistant helped the main Keeper with fog-signaling and other tasks.

The museum is staffed by volunteers who show the artifacts to visitors. There are storyboards and a short film. The tower is only open for climbing occasionally. It was closed the day I visited.

Newport Area Posts

  • Beavertail State Park
  • Beavertail Light
  • The Cliff Walk
  • Easton’s Beach
  • Ochre Court
  • The Breakers
  • Newport Historic District
  • Touro Synagogue
  • Old Colony House
  • Fort Adams
  • Brenton Point

Location: Beavertail Rd, Jamestown, RI 02835
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated/established: December 12, 1977
Date of my visit: October 2, 202

6 thoughts on “Beavertail Lighthouse NRHP

  1. Have you visited the historic Hilton Head Lighthouse? I searched your archives but couldn’t find anything. One of my vlogger friends spent the last few days exploring the area. I was in awe of all the historic sites dating back to the 1700’s.

    The Hilton Head Rear Range Lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Inventory of Historic Light Stations. There is also a church building — still in use — that served as a hospital in both the Revolutionary and Civil wars. Another building, from the 1700’s, has remained intact all these years. There is also a fort that garrisoned a Union regiment of African-American troops who defended the island from Confederate incursions.

    The sites have been frozen in time. You think about all of the history and the generations of people who lived and died there. Exploring the area requires a bit of determination because there are a number of private communities with security checkpoints that may charge an entry fee, or deny entrance altogether. My friend had to pay $9 to enter one historic area, and was denied entry to another. In most cases, they simply asked him the purpose of his visit before passing him through the checkpoint.

    The permanent residents are very respective and protective of the historic treasures that have stood for centuries on their little island.

  2. Correction: The old church building that served as a hospital is located in Ebenezer, Ga. My friend stopped there on his way to Hilton Head. The church was built in 1767, and is listed on the Historic Register as Georgia’s oldest church — known to the locals as the “Old Ebenezer”. It served the German-speaking people who settled the area in the 1760’s. The oldest building on Hilton Head is the Zion Chapel that predates the Civil War.

    1. Thanks for the info! Spent some time on Edisto Island a few years back, but the last time I was in Hilton Head, I was 6 or 7. I remember staying in a cottage that looked like a mushroom, catching a catfish from a small boat and riding rented bicycles with my family, that’s about it.

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